Shifting its strategy to the tune of changing market dynamics in order to maintain the growth momentum in the India market, Brand USA, the tourism promotion agency of the USA, has decided to replace ‘India Sales Mission’ to ‘Travel Week India’. India is the second country to host Brand USA Travel Week after Europe.
“We just completed the Travel Week Europe in the beginning of September. It is a new way of doing business in Europe. It is like bringing buyers from all over Europe and USA’s destinations & organizations and conduct business meetings and seminars about the market. Travel Week India will be organized almost on the similar lines in New Delhi. India is the second market for Travel Week programme. It will be a 5 day programme from October 5-9, 2020 focused on educating Indian travel through augmented content,” Jackie Ennis, Senior Director, Global Trade Development for Brand USA, told on the sidelines of the 8th India Travel Mission 2019. Travel Week Europe attracted 97 US exhibitors and 180 ‘pre-qualified’ buyers from more than 20 European countries.
She expects participation 60 companies and organizations in the 1st India Travel Week. The objective is to have a deeper understanding of the demands and prevailing trends in the India market to the US suppliers, she said adding that the Travel Week is all about providing a forum that is the best for the US and offers the most effective stage possible for selling the US. While India Travel Mission was a multi-city event, the Travel Week India will be hosted in New Delhi and attended by buyers from pan India.
Talking about the performance of the India market, Ennis said the numbers from India has more than doubled in the last seven years. “In 2018, USA received 1.4 million Indian travelllers, reflecting a growth of 7.2 per cent over 2017. With this, India ranked at 10th position in terms of source market,” she said that Brand USA targets 22 countries within its area. “However, India is at number 5 position when it comes to visitors spend. The spend by Indian visitors was US$8.1 billion 2012 that jumped to US$15.8 billion in 2018,” she informed.
She said that Brand USA is again going to witness a growth in arrivals from India. “In July this year, Indian arrivals went up by 7 per cent despite some challenges. Our goal is to welcome 1.9 million Indian visitors by 2023. However, it depends on connectivity. We are hopeful to have more direct non-stop flights as we see the potential in the market,” Ennis opined.
Replying to a question over only 35 per cent of the people taking professional’s advise and remaining depends on other channels, she emphasised that trade is equally important. “All destinations look to the trade as this is the way to focus resources. We can’t possibly go to all and promote the destination. The reality is that we have to be sensible in terms of touching the every level of trade whether it is product, retail and sells. We need to keep on evolving in our strategy by acknowledging the trends in the trade. So, we have to work with OTAs. Today, with digital platforms, we have the opportunity to marry travel trade with consumers. It is very important to work with trade,” she opined.
Brand USA, established by the Travel Promotion Act of 2010 to promote the country as a travel destination, is seeking reauthorisation as the current authorization lapses in September 2020. “Brand USA has to reauthorize the Brand USA programme in 2020. When TPA was signed in 2010 and renewed in 2014, we were authorised for five years each time. We are hopeful of getting reauthorization for another seven years. All segments of the industry are supporting the continuation of Brand USA,” she said.